[Series Review] SLASHER: RIPPER Eps 1-2

[Series Review] SLASHER: RIPPER Eps 1-2
SLASHER: RIPPER l Shudder
My favorite horror anthology series is back and this time, we’re going back to the past. SLASHER: RIPPER has creator Aaron Martin and showrunner Ian Carpenter pulling inspiration from the infamous Ripper killings to create something of their own. Featuring some of our favorite returning cast members and old faces, the first two episodes provided to us set the stage for what we should expect in this last installment of the Slasher series.

Set in 19th century Toronto, we are introduced quickly to the new slasher killer, The Widow, in the opening five minutes. Reminiscent of Jack the Ripper, viewers will learn quickly that corruption is rampant in this quickly-growing city. The city itself is run by the wealthy business tycoon Basil Garvey (Eric McCormack), who embodies the type of guy that needs to be haunted by ghosts ala Ebeneezer Scrooge.

Instead, he’s haunted by something else. He quickly finds himself a potential target for The Widow once it becomes clear that the killer is targeting specific citizens. The only person who might be able to protect this man is the young detective, Kenneth Rijkers (Gabriel Darku).  But the clock is ticking and victims quickly start to pile up as The Widow zeroes in on her target.

A dark new world

Lisa Berry as Dr. Melanda Israel in Slasher: Ripper (Season 5, Episode 1). Photo Credit: Cole Burston/Shudder

In the first two episodes, we are quickly introduced to a litany of characters, with the threads of sin and corruption easily traced. There is a tenuous balance here in the city, with all those maneuvering around Basil in their maintaining of the status quo. What ounce of innocence to be had is still tainted by the specter of 19th-century morality when hackles rise, and it’s these various dynamics that make a period piece like this all the more interesting.

For fans of the Slasher series, you’ll have a great time picking out all of the familiar faces. In fact, there are quite a few faces from “Slasher: Solstice” in this installment, so keep your eyes peeled.  Most surprising of all is the return of Steve Byers, who made his mark as the memorable Cam in “Slasher: The Executioner.” It’s this particular casting that has sparked a theory for me but, on the off chance that it accidentally leads to spoilers, I will keep quiet. Needless to say, though, excitement abounds.

SLASHER: RIPPER excites

The Widow in Slasher: Ripper (Season 5, Episode 1). Photo Credit: Nikki Ross/Shudder

This is a mild nitpick but while the setting and costuming seem period-appropriate, visually everything looks a bit too sanitized for the time period. The late 19th Century was a gross period of time and, with populations rapidly exploding with technological advancements and immigration, things got dirty pretty quickly. That’s not to say clothing wasn’t clean but, when you think about how dirty the streets were with night soil a frequent piling up occurrence, it’s difficult to avoid that wear and tear. I’m curious to know if anyone else noticed or if I’m just the odd duck in the barn here.

While it’s too soon to say where SLASHER: RIPPER stands compared to previous installments, one thing is for certain. The first two episodes immediately intrigue. They give us a glimpse into the complexity of the characters without giving too much away. In particular, I can’t wait to learn more about Lisa Berry’s Dr. Melanda Israel. The kills that are present are clinical so far, with some choosing to cut away from the big splatter moments. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A strong start so far.

SLASHER: RIPPER debuts with a two-episode premiere on Thursday, April 6 on Shudder and AMC+ with new episodes rolling out weekly on Thursdays.

Sarah Musnicky
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